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Frequently Asked Dental Questions - Palm Harbor, FL

Children’s Dentistry Questions? We Have the Answers!

We receive questions from parents every single day, and we love it! Nothing makes us happier than sharing our knowledge so that our parents have everything they need to safeguard their favorite smiles. Below, we’ve gone ahead and answered some of our most frequently asked dental questions, and if there is anything else you’d like to ask, be sure to give us a call.

Why Choose a Pediatric Dentist?

Pediatric Dentists are dentists that have a passion to provide the best dental care possible to our children. So much so that we have attended accredited Pediatric Specialty programs for an additional two to three years after dental school. We are the pediatricians of dentistry. Our training has focused on providing the same level of care that an adult receives. We provide this care to children from birth through the late teens, not only to our patients whom meet their milestones, but also to those with special health needs.

Should My Child See Dentist Twice a Year?

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends a dental check-up at least twice a year. It is important to see the dentist once every six months even if your child has never had a cavity. Your child’s dentist will perform an exam on them once every six months, not only to check for cavities, but also to examine the oral tissues and jaws. Your child will also have a cleaning at these visits, to remove build-up on their teeth, and a fluoride treatment to help strengthen the teeth and prevent cavities. Each child is given oral hygiene instructions during their visit, to review proper brushing and flossing techniques.

Why Fix Baby Teeth?

The reason to fix baby (primary) teeth when they have decay (caries – dental disease) is quite simply to return them to health. Nowhere on our bodies would we neglect a disease process and let it continue unchecked. While it is true that the baby teeth will fall out eventually, the problems that may arise from not treating them when needed can vary from an esthetic issue to pain, infection, and in some cases death. Healthy primary teeth are important for:

  • Maintaining the space for the permanent teeth to erupt into
  • Proper nutrition through effective chewing of food
  • Esthetics for positive self-esteem
  • Proper development of the permanent teeth and jaws

Can you accommodate children with allergies?

Yes, we have gluten and nut-free fluoride and cleaning products. We even offer snacks that are gluten and nut-free as well!

Is Fluoride Good for My Child's Teeth?

Fluoride is a naturally occurring compound that helps teeth become stronger and more resistant to decay. Your child’s pediatric dentist will likely recommend an in-office topical application of fluoride after each cleaning, as well as a daily fluoride intake through their drinking water or a fluoride supplement. When using the optimal amount, fluoride is very beneficial to a child’s dental health. It is important to check with your child’s dentist on the amount of fluoridated water they are drinking to ensure your child is receiving the proper amount. Ingesting too much fluoride can lead to stains on the permanent teeth, while too little can leave them more susceptible to decay.

Is Thumbsucking or
Pacifier Normal?

Sucking is a natural reflex and infants and young children may use thumb, fingers, pacifiers, and other objects on which to suck. Around age 3 is the time to take note, and gently encourage your child to stop the habit. Thumb/pacifier sucking that continues beyond age 3 may cause problems with the proper growth of the mouth and tooth alignment.

Here are some helpful tips for getting your child through thumb/pacifier sucking:

  • Wait until the time is right (low stress)
  • Use positive reinforcement by praising your child when he/she is not sucking
  • Use a reward system
  • Some suggest a pacifier habit is easier to break than a thumb habit because you can throw away a pacifier.
  • One helpful trick to wean your child off a pacifier is to progressively cut off a small piece of the tip each week until, eventually, the entire nipple is gone. If the child has multiple pacifiers, do this on all of them and do not replace any lost pacifiers.
  • If your child has a thumb or finger habit, try placing a sock over their hand at night, or using tape on the fingers they suck to remind them to stop.
  • Ask your child’s pediatric dentist to speak to your child about stopping the habit, and what could happen to their teeth if they continue.
  • Ask your child’s pediatric dentist for other tips on helping your child stop their habit.

What Non-Insurance Options are There?

Yes, you can sign up for the Palm Harbor Pediatric Smile Club. For less than traditional insurance, you can cover your child’s basic dental care for the entire year and receive discounts on many other treatments. Learn more and sign up today here!

What Should I Do About Tooth Discoloration?

Assuming the child has not injured their teeth, in most cases, it is normal for the permanent teeth to look darker or yellow. It’s actually considered to be an optical illusion! The baby teeth are actually nicknamed “milk-teeth” because of their bright, white color. When permanent teeth come in next to them, it gives them the appearance of being very yellow. Our permanent teeth have thicker layers of underlying dentin (layer of tooth beneath the outer enamel) which naturally has hues of yellow, red, or grey. If you don't discuss the issue with your child, chances are they won't even notice and will not become self-conscious. Once your child’s permanent teeth have all come in, together we will re-evaluate the color and see how they appear. If you and your child are still concerned, please discuss tooth whitening options with us.